Childhood Milestones: Is Your Toddler Doing Differential Equations Yet?


I’m writing this on the heels of removing the last baby bed from service in my home. There’s been a crib in one room or another (sometimes in two of them) for almost five years. It’s all too soon. Last week, we went to bed – all four of us – each in normal, regular-sized beds. My daughter, princess that she is, made the transition to a queen.

We moved first to the big girl bed for naps, and after two evenings of crying to sleep there at night, I caved. I didn’t even realize the last night I put her in the crib was the last night. Maybe it was best for me that way. That’s what I keep telling myself.

Here’s the deal: she was ready, and I wasn’t.

When that thought struck me, I realized how much more laid back I’ve been with her. She’s most likely my last baby. She walked late, and I didn’t worry. She’s in preschool because she cried to stay (#littlesisterprobs). I’m stressing nil over potty training. I feel blessed to have a healthy girl, and being that she is healthy, eventually she’s going to meet all of her milestones, in her own time. If I could sit down over a Diet Coke and tell you her birth story, you’d understand she came into this world exactly that way – in her own time. It’s been her M.O. from hour one. And if I’ve learned anything from her older brother, it’s that pressing a child into something he or she’s absolutely not ready for results in setbacks for everyone, with a little premature gray hair and extra frustration thrown in the mix. I have to remind myself of this all the time.

I’m not saying that you should never be concerned if you child is missing a milestone, especially if your pediatrician has advised you to be so. We have the luxury of living in a time and place where there are many specialists to help with almost any developmental struggle, especially here in Cowtown with our wonderful friends at Cook Children’s. I firmly believe in taking hold of those resources.

While I certainly don’t have it all figured out, my encouragement to you today is to stop measuring your child’s milestones by the kid next door. Just don’t go there.


Eventually, every healthy person learns to walk. Eventually, every healthy person learns to use a toilet. Eventually, (please Lord let it be so) every healthy person learns to buckle her own seatbelt and tie his own shoes and blow that nose.

So when someone asks you — “Is little Sarah Jane walking/pottying/doing differential equations yet?” — take a deep breath and remind yourself of this: Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Sarah Jane is doing just fine, and so are you, Mom.


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